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2015 Sporting Kansas City Season Preview: Midfield

After quite a few changes this off season, Peter Vermes now has versatility and options in the middle of the park that may allow him to change his classic formation a bit.

The hair is different, but that face is back
The hair is different, but that face is back
Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

Who is out?

Antonio Dovale - Option declined; currently with CD Lugo in Spanish 2nd Division

Victor Munoz - Option declined

Lawrence Olum - Out of contract

Martin Stueble - Out of contract; currently with Ceres F.C. in the Phillipines

Jorge Claros - Released; currently with Qingdao Jonoon Football Club in China

Who is in?

Roger Espinoza - Previously Wigan Athletic in England

Servando Carassco - Previously Houston Dynamo; Traded for 30th pick in MLS SuperDraft

Connor Hallisey - Drafted 10th Overall in MLS SuperDraft out of the University of California

Soni Mustivar - Previously Petrolul in Romania

Roger Espinoza

In perhaps the biggest move of the off season, Roger has returned from England. The moment he starts running into people and completing passes it's going to feel like he never left. Except now he has two years in England under his belt and is at the prime age of 28. One key difference the Honduran has noted, is that he is returns to the club a more mature player. The relentless on the ball pressure and insane work rate will of course return; but where the fiery player may have let emotions get the best of him in the past, he is now able to restrain himself and play smart. Being physical and winning possession is where his presence will be felt immediately, but he brings much more. He is a threat to shoot from distance, he has looked great passing out of the back all preseason, and he will provide some stability to a defense in flux at the moment.

Benny Feilhaber

With the crazy season last year, Benny was forced into a more defensive role. Creating chances up front is where the 30 year old is probably most valuable, but he has shown the ability to create from a deeper position as well. We may be seeing more of that this season. Vermes has hinted at a formation change with so much versatility in his lineup so it is hard to tell exactly how things will play out. He did indeed play rather deep in the preseason, but he was dangerous. Never will Feilhaber shy away from contact, he can cover a lot of ground, and he has the ability to break down a defense with single through ball. I'm not sure what I am more excited for.. his cleverness on the field or another season of The Benny Feilhaber Show.

Paulo Nagamura

Naga just turned 32 years old and is entering his 4th season with Sporting KC. He is well respected in the clubhouse and even wore the Captain's armband last year in Besler's absence. But if the preseason is any indicator, the Brazilian may be in a back up role this year. Espinoza is back, plus Anor and Nemeth seem to have shaken things up as well. However Vermes may have just been experimenting, or its possible he didn't want to tip his hand. Whether it is as a starter or off the bench, Naga will play in important role on and off the field.

Servando Carrasco

He comes to KC in a trade with the Houston Dynamo for the 30th pick in this years SuperDraft. The 26 year old played 16 games last season starting 9 of them. He is a holding midfielder that displays a good instinct for committing to tackles and connecting passes over the top of defenses. Carrasco brings a familiarity with the league and provides depth, although from just a few preseason games its hard to tell where he sits on that depth chart right now. Highlight reel.

Mikey Lopez

Drafted 14th overall by SKC, Lopez is starting his 3rd season as professional. After spending time with both Orlando City and Oklahoma City last season, he was recalled in June featuring in 8 matches with 5 starts for KC. Lopez's potential is obvious, but he is still very raw. Rather than riding the bench for Sporting, the youngster may very well be loaned to OKC again.

Jimmy Medranda

At 21 years old, the Colombian appears to have a bright future. While his inexperience shows and he can get a little to excited, he doesn't display the hesitancy you may expect from a young player. He will confidently bound forward with the ball at his feet and he will rip incredibly powerful shots on goal when given half a chance. Medranda was recalled from his loan to Energy FC and appeared in 5 games even earning a start with a lineup stretched incredibly thin last season. Being the youngest in a crowded midfield this season, he is likely to be sent back to the USL PRO at some point.

Connor Hallisey

Fresh out of college, Hallisey is another strong candidate to be loaned out. He was Kansas City's first pick in this years SuperDraft at 10th Overall. The 22 year old attacking midfielder had 9 goals and 12 assists at the University of California last year. Its hard to gather much from limited minutes in a few preseason games, but the rookie has not looked out of place by any means. College highlight reel.

Soni Mustivar

The club signed the 25 year old Haitian several weeks ago but he just recently became active, so we have yet to see him play. But he has played in 76 games for Petrolul over 3 seasons including several appearances in the Europa League. Without a trustworthy defensive midfielder to replace Uri Rosell, Vermes may tweak the formation as to not require one. But Mustivar does indeed show a lot of those qualities in this highlight reel. They must like him at his old club, its 8 minutes long and he is referred to as "Our Captain The Last Samurai".

**Bernardo Anor and Graham Zusi are listed as M on the roster... but have been playing up front on the wings. At the same time Krisztian Nemeth is listed as a F... but was given a look as an attacking midfielder.**

2015 Season Previews